PCWorld did a test on six of the fastest USB WiFi adapter with 802.11ac and found the Asus USB-AC56 Dual-band Wireless-AC1200 USB 3.0 WiFi Adapter to be the fastest.
This is good news if you have recently upgraded your router to 802.11ac and your computer only uses Wireless-N.
Many computers don’t currently have 802.11ac compatibility. If your computer falls into this category upgrading a laptop/desktop to 802.11ac is easy with a USB WiFi adapter.
The Asus USB-AC56 is a USB 3.0 dongle that can transfer data at 867 Mbps over 802.11ac 5 GHz + 802.11N 400 Mbps over 2.4 GHz.
This gives it a potential for speeds up to 1300 Mbps.
Compare this to Wireless-N which has a max speed of 300 Mbps and you can see how much faster a good 802.11ac setup can be.
Of course realistically WiFi never moves as fast as its rated to. Take wireless-N which even though rated at up to 150/300 Mbps, can max out often around 30-100 Mbps depending on the adapter.
In their test PCWorld found the Asus USB-AC56 could move data at 404 Mbps at nine feet away.
The Netgear A6200 came in second at 310 Mbps.
Keep in mind the speed will slow down as more distance is introduced. For example the Asus USB-AC56 transferred data at 347 Mbps at twenty feet.
As most know getting a good signal at a distance is always a problem when it comes to WiFi.
Unfortunately 802.11ac while faster doesn’t have as good a distance as the older protocols.
This is because it transmits in the 5 GHz range. Signals transmitted at 5 GHz don’t travel as well as signal on lower frequencies. For this reason having a 802.11ac WiFi setup that has everything closer the better.
Not everyone will need the fastest WiFi signal possible and will be fine with a older Wireless-N or even G network.
But if you do want the fastest connection possible using a wireless USB dongle then the Asus USB-AC56 is worth checking out.
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Asus (USB-AC56) Dual-band Wireless-AC1300 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi Adapter